U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Health Highlights: Feb. 2, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

White House Seeks $1.2 Billion To Battle Drug Overdose Epidemic

Nearly $1.2 billion is needed over the next two years to prevent and treat overdoses from heroin and prescription painkillers, the White House told Congress on Tuesday.

The request for new funding comes as the heroin and prescription pain drug use epidemic in the U.S. has become a priority for politicians in both parties, the Washington Post reported.

In 2014, there were 28,648 deaths caused by opioids, a class of drugs that includes heroin and prescription pain medications. That was higher than the number of car crash deaths that year.

On Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell said "no community has been immune" to the problem. Her home state of West Virginia has been hit particularly hard, the Post reported.

"Personally, I know the families who have suffered deeply from loss, and continue to struggle in their families," she told reporters, and added that the funding requested by the White House "would mean a significant investment in this fight."

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